Big Jim wrote:I stumbled over this thread and thought that I would add my two cents since this book hasn't mentioned by anyone yet. Of all of the subamrine books that I have, the number one book by far is;
"United States SUBMARINE OPERATIONS in Word War II by Theodore Roscoe.
Tom Dougherty suggests that "Silent Victory" is the "Gold" standard. If so then Submarine Operations is the "Platinum" standard.
As a history, the Roscoe book comes up woefully short. It was written immediately after WWII, and the Submarine Service needed a positive "spin" because 1.) it had to compete for dwindling funds in the postwar environment, and 2.) the Navy knew that their numerous fleet submarines, which won the Pacific war against Japan, would be too slow and ineffective in the coming years, based on the captured German Type XXI high speed U-boat. The fear was that the Soviet Union would use their prize Type XXIs to build high speed diesel boats (which they did in the Whiskey class). The Navy needed the funds for the new high speed deep diving Tang class and the Guppy conversions of the fleet submarines. Hence, The "Silent Service" needed a book that would highlight the successes, and downplay or not even mention some of the shortcomings of submarine operations during the war.
Roscoe does not mention the early problem with skippers trained to make sound bearing attacks, the reluctance of some skippers to engage effectively and their removal from command, and does not detail the chronic torpedo problems (all three technical problems). It does not touch upon the conflicts among the admirals in the Pacific as to how to best use the submarine force. In that sense, the much later book by Blair is a much more balanced and thoughtful history. Blair's book is also much better documented. The Roscoe book is more of a cheerleading set of stories which solidified certain storylines about WWII submarines, some aspects of which are questionable. It's not a bad book, but for historical accuracy and perspective, it doesn't come close to Blair. I would call it the bronze standard, at best.